UPDATE: Today (Wednesday, June 25) it was learned that Sir Thads’ body has been found 90 kms N of Pundaquit in Hermana Mayor island. He would have celebrated his 32nd birthday today. (from Sir Cecil of AMCI)
MINATO-KU, TOKYO – We enter a sad week, left behind by typhoon ‘Frank’ (Fengshen), a menace that swept away lives. As I write this, the search for survivors aboard M/V Princess of the Stars continue. Just within sight of Mt. Guiting-Guiting in Sibuyan Island lay the vessel; it has not capsized and neither should our hopes and yet we know that tragedies do happen and the frailty of life gets exposed when storms wash away the embellishments and joys of living. More than 700 missing. We have also heard that the island of Sibuyan has been devastated by the typhoon.
In Zambales, we have been told that mountaineers Jhoana Pimentel and Thaddeus Reantaso, belonging to the AMCI , together with guest climber Joseph Pelarca were swept away while crossing a swollen river in Mt. Pundaquit yesterday (Sunday) at the height of the storm. They were part of a team of 12 that made a recon at Anawangin Cove and were already on the way back when the mishap took place.
Of the three that were swept away, the bodies of Ma’am Jhoana and Sir Anjo have been found within 24 hours of the incident. Meanwhile, it has been learned on Wednesday (June 25) that Sir Thads’ body was found. He would have celebrated his 32nd birthday today. The rest made it back safely.
We in the mountaineering community share the sorrow of this tragedy, though no words can make up for this loss. Let us pray for peace and comfort for the family and friends of the three.
Likewise, we pray for the all casualties of this typhoon; their families and their friends. Having grown up in Mt. Makiling, the inevitable consequence of storms for us were blackouts, interruption of water supply, no classes, trees falling, and garage roofs flying but we know the reality that storms can cause much greater damage. Some of the mountaineering accidents we’ve heard from the past were also due to storms.
Yet we are a strong people who has braved worse times. We know this, and have faith, that soon, very soon, the clouds will disappear, and the sun will shine again. The gloom of rain will give way to the cheer of blue skies. But even then we will always remember the people we’ve shared adventures and lives with. No matter how distant from them we are, we are one community and one people. The next time the skies clear up and we get to climb a mountain, let us give time to pause and remember.